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Harvesting Duckweed with a Pitchfork

July 21, 2014

Ken Carman, naturalist from Roxbury Park, Hollywood SC, demonstrates how he harvests wild duckweed using a simple pitchfork. He only harvests duckweed on windy days when the lemna bunches up to more than three inches deep.  He estimates that he has harvested over twenty tons of duckweed this way over the past two years. What does he use it for? Compost and chicken feed.  Visit for some the best photos of wildlife you’lll see in the region.

East Duckweed Coast Tour

July 20, 2014

Am traveling this week on a duckweed bioprospecting hunt. In addition to collecting lots of cool duckweed strains, look forward to visiting fellow duckweed friends and associates from the South Carolina coastal regions northward to New Jersey. Am kicking off the week with a visit to Ken and Brenda Carman and take a tour of the new Roxbury Park in South Charleston County, SC where Ken is caretaker/naturalist.Ken is the duckweed affectionado that discovered lemna growing underground after being buried for 15 months in a mulch pile. I hope to get a sample of the strain.

Drove 700 miles yesterday after an informative training session for Toastmaster governors in Indianapolis, IN. Love my new TM friends! Such go-getters.

I knew I needed to give it up for the night when the thought of curling up in my backseat in the parking lot of a truck stop started looking real appealing. I drove on another twenty miles though and found a room at 2:00am. Those truck driver days are over.

Basement full of water

July 6, 2014

I have a rental home that was vacated a month ago and the power turned off. I have been terrifically busy on duckweed projects so I didn’t get around to prepping the house in order to put on the market until just yesterday. I had to go down into the basement for something. Imagine my surprise to see a quiet, shimmer of a deep pool of water instead of a dry concrete basement.  If it had been a swimming pool, it would have had a marker stating, “3.5 ft deep No Running.” I noted the  bobbing washing machine and dryer tethered by hoses and cords. Then I nearly cried at the sight of my two-year old, relatively new electric water heater, drowning quietly in the corner. What the heck? How did THIS happen? What do I do? HELP!!!

Naturally this event has fallen on a holiday weekend.

“It’s just water,” I reasoned and came up with a holiday weekend fix. This morning, I enlisted the aid of one of my sons  to help me load up my beloved trash pump and hoses from my ponds. It only took 45 minutes to move all that water to a now-flooded backyard. (300 gal/minute- that pump doesn’t mess around.)

Who knows what the basement will look like in the morning as my electricity won’t get turned on for at least a day or two and I don’t know if it is because of a broken water line or all the rain we’ve had lately plus a sump pump without electricity. How do people cope with this? I turned off the main breaker but don’t know what else to do. Are my appliances and water heater ruined for good?

Has this happened to you?




Duckweed in the News

July 4, 2014

Last OnGoldenPondweekend, a television crew lead by Mychaela Bruner from News Channel Six in Paducah, KY came out to do a second story on my duckweed developments. Here is the link to the video.  I am very thankful for the interest and support by News Channel Six, my local community and state leaders.


For $10,000- What is the Smallest Flowering Plant on Earth?

June 24, 2014

If you guessed Wolffia, you’d be right!  You’d win big at Jeopardy but sorry, there is no payoff from my blog site. On the bright side, you’d be in an elite but growing circle of duckweed folks “in the know” and now have the potential for looking pretty smart in biology class. Yes, Wolffia is the world’s smallest flowering plant. You’d have to line up 40 of the little green potato-like buggers end-to-end to make an inch. They flower and produce seeds but well… it’s a rare occurence and even I have not gotten to witness the holy event. They reproduce mainly by budding and reproduce like crazy when awash in fresh water containing ample nutrients. Wolffia is the fastest growing plant on the planet, doubling in weight every 24-48 hours, and up to 50% dry weight of the closest thing to animal protein that Nature can offer. Here is a shot of a couple of species that I am currently growing.  Tastes like lettuce, cabbage, and a hint of spinach. Disclaimer:  Even though folks in South Asia eat it routinely, don’t go around eating wild-harvested Wolffia as our immune systems are simply not up to snuff.

The World's Smallest Flowering Plant- Wolffia

Duckweed Fertilizing Tips

April 8, 2014

Our ILA Round Table workshop was recorded today with Dr. Louis Landesman acting as leading expert on fertilization tips for duckweed production. It’s an hour long but one of the best hours you could spend if you were really interested in growing duckweed for urban farming or commercial purposes.

Thanks, Louis. Wonderful job!



My Saturday project- RO filtration

March 29, 2014


Read more…

While the Weather Outside is Frightening…

March 25, 2014
L. punctata grows happily in a south-facing window

L. punctata grows happily in a south-facing window

A sunny window and spring green loveliness of happy duckweed make up for the damp chill of March.  This duckweed was grown primarily on aquarium water from my goldfish with a bit of trace pond muck for micronutrients.  It is doubling every three days at present. Another month and sunlight intensity will move that growth rate up to nearly a doubling every one and a half days.

Photo taken by my good friend, Linda King.

Duckweed Project Interview Aired Last Night

June 30, 2014

For the verbal post, you can click here. Am waiting for the video link. The interview went well, although Yaught’s battery started dying in the middle of showing how cool a solar-powered boat was in a duckweed pond and claiming that it always had plenty of power all summer long. When I tried to hand-tighten the battery post connections, I got my fingers royally burned. Murphy’s Law in action keeps me humble.



Duckweed Booth at the Fair

June 20, 2014


Educational booth this week in Mayfield, KY. “Feed the goldfish some duckweed and look thru the microscope at the world`s smallest plant.”
Kids and adults alike have enjoyed learning about all the cool things they can do with duckweed.

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